McPhillips were commissioned to complete the Shifnal Town Centre Improvement Scheme in order to create a more pedestrian friendly area for shoppers and businesses and to improve the existing infrastructure. In addition, the works were intended to slow down and avert traffic from the town centre, where possible.

The works comprised of:

  • Realigning and improving capacity at key town centre road junctions.
  • Constructing two new zebra crossings and uncontrolled pedestrian crossing points on Bradford Street, Market Place, Victoria Road, Church Street, Aston Street, Broadway and Shrewsbury Road.
  • Road resurfacing, new traffic signs and a new 20mph speed limit.
  • Constructing new kerb lines in conservation kerbs and widening existing .footways using high quality natural stone paving.
  • Hard and soft landscaping.
  • Updating drainage systems.
  • New parking bays to provide on-street parking parallel parking.
  • Planting beds and new trees in large underground topsoil zones.
  • New street furniture including benches, bins, free standing planters, cycle racks and hanging basket brackets.
  • New street lighting with LED illumination to improve light quality.

The challenges

A key challenge facing McPhillips was how to maintain heavy commuter traffic flows through Shifnal town centre using temporary traffic management on the existing narrow road network for the duration of the works. There was also the added pressure of trying to maintain pedestrian routes and access to businesses, especially considering that trade in the town centre was recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scheme was subject to public consultation and public meetings, which led to some elements of work being re-designed during the contract, before it was approved by Shropshire Council, Shifnal Town Council and local councillors. Approval also had to be sought from the Department for Transport for permission to remove vehicular access in certain areas.

We also had to factor in the impact of reinstating old cellars and replacing an old, damaged culvert discovered on-site.

The solutions

A traffic management strategy was produced by McPhillips with the aim of keeping disruption to the public to an absolute minimum.

Ongoing dialogue with businesses within the footprint of the works was carried out by McPhillips’ Site Agent Adrian Elsdon via face-to-face meetings, where COVID-19 restrictions allowed, letters or emails, so that their needs could be taken into consideration.

Close contact and meetings with the Town Council, Shropshire Council and Shropshire County Council highways permitting team were carried out to keep everyone informed about the different phases of the project and impact of the works on the general public i.e. road closures and diversions.

Detailed planning of the works also provided sufficient working space for our workforce whilst still maintaining pedestrian and vehicular flows.

Pedestrian and traffic marshals were present on-site to assist the public. Adrian Elsdon, the site agent, was proactive in ensuring everyone’s needs were accommodated.

Obviously works of this nature inevitably cause some noise disturbances but these were kept to a minimum and dust suppression measures were used when cutting paving slabs and materials.

The result

Through agreed working times across main shop frontages, night working for planing out the existing highway, tarmacking and high friction works, effective planning and close liaison with all stakeholders, the site team were able to complete the primary objective of completing the works as agreed.

The work areas were clearly defined and barriered off, pedestrian crossing points and walkways were clear and accessible, and every effort was made to ensure businesses could continue to trade. Access to premises was maintained for local businesses and residents alike.

Continual liaison with businesses and the general public helped to ensure that the scheme was delivered with minimal complaints.

Shifnal’s annual carnival went ahead unhindered, disruption to the main carriageway during the weekend of the Cosford Air Show was kept to a minimum and all main contract works were completed in time for the 2022 Shifnal Christmas light switch-on and Christmas market.

Our Site Agent was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by Shifnal Town Council to recognise his “dedicated support for the community” in encouraging local ‘buy-in’ and ensuring that the scheme ran smoothly.

Adrian commented on the project,

“We hope we have created a town centre environment which will be used and enjoyed by the community of Shifnal, and we understand that Shifnal Town Council have already started making plans to use the new space for the reintroduction of town centre markets following the success of the recent Christmas Market held in Bradford Street.”

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